GUYANA Amazon Warriors women advanced to the final of the 2023 Massy Women's Caribbean Premier League (WCPL) after getting a comprehensive nine-wicket win against the defending champs Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) women in a must-win match at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy (BLCA) in Tarouba, on Saturday.
The Warriors will now meet last year's losing finalists Barbados Royals in Sunday's final from 3.30 pm at the same BLCA venue.
TKR captain Deandra Dottin won the toss and opted to bat first in Saturday's pivotal game. However, things went horribly wrong for the hosts, as they were bundled out for a paltry score of 72 – the lowest score of the 2023 WCPL season. Dottin top-scored with 25 off 21 balls, but TKR's batting card was a sorry sight as just two batters scored in double figures. Wicket-keeper/batter Kycia Knight was the other TKR player to hit double digits, as she struggled on her way to 13 off 22 balls. Knight and Dottin shared in a decent 27-run partnership for the third wicket, but Knight's dismissal in the tenth over caused a domino effect in the TKR batting order.
TKR were placed on 52 for three when Knight was dismissed by the impressive Karishma Ramharack (three for 21). New batter Mignon du Preez (duck) was dismissed off the very next ball in spectacular fashion, as she was run out by a direct hit from Natasha McLean.
"It was actually a shocker. We actually thought Natasha was sleeping," said Warriors captain Stafanie Taylor, when asked about McLean's brilliant piece of fielding. "She would probably hit the wicket one out of 100 times in that situation so I'm glad that one percent was today."
The Warriors were firing on all cylinders and TKR simply had no answer. The hosts lost their last eight wickets for just 20 runs and were bowled out by the 17th over, as the spin pair of Ramharack and India's Shreyanka Patil (two for ten) ripped through their batting lineup.
"Unfortunately, we were a bit disappointing with the bat," Dottin said. "I just think it's a matter of our batters needing to take more responsibility and adjusting to the pitch early and seeing how the Amazon Warriors were bowling, and then adjusting and moving to suit."
After seeing the back of Knight in the tenth over, Ramharack, who won the Player of the Match award, got the prized wicket of Dottin in her next over as she had the dangerous allrounder trapped lbw. Ramharack also accounted for the wicket of fellow TT spinner Anisa Mohammed who was bowled for four.
Meanwhile, Patil helped to clean up the TKR tail as she had Zaida James (three) out lbw in the 15th over, before taking the last wicket in her subsequent over as she dismissed 15-year-old Samara Ramnath.
Taylor was delighted by the work done by her bowlers and said they stuck to their plans.
"I'm really happy. When we got to the ground we were really clear on what we wanted to do as a group," Taylor said. "I must say everything came together very well today, so well done (to the team)."
She also praised the performance of Ramharack, who also had figures of two for 16 on Tuesday, as the Warriors got a 21-run win over TKR in their first of two meetings.
"Karishma was struggling a little bit in the first two games of the tournament," Taylor said. "As a group, we backed her to come back and it was so nice to see how she performed in the last game and was building back up (momentum). It was really nice to see her back and focused."
Ramharack, who is paying tribute to her fallen mother by donning the name "Sharada" on the back of her shirt, said the Warriors utilised the conditions to perfection.
"I felt really good coming off the last game. I just backed my skills and bowled into the pitch," Ramharack said. "The conditions were very conducive to spin today. I felt like we used the pitch well. (Shreyanka) has also been doing really well for us so I'm really happy that we both can give the team the overs needed."
In the chase, the Warriors needed just 7.3 overs to knock off the small target, as New Zealand batter Sophie Devine (38 not out off 19 balls) continued her excellent run in the WCPL tournament. Devine has now amassed 231 runs through four innings and has a staggering average of 115.50. Devine was in a no-nonsense mood against the TKR bowlers, thumping three fours and three sixes in her fluent cameo at the BLCA.
The Warriors sped to 59 for one after the power play, with Suzie Bates (18 off 18 balls) being the lone wicket to fall. Young Ramnath was struck for 15 runs in her solitary over as Devine and Taylor (17 not out off eight balls) neared the target. Fittingly, Devine saw her team over the line with 75 balls to spare as she lofted Mohammed for two sixes in the eight over to seal the commanding win.
The Royals have beaten the Warriors in both matches between the teams this season, but Taylor hopes that can be corrected in the final.
"I think our bowling is what we needed to work on and I think given the composition of their team – they have a good batting depth –we have to bowl and bowl well," Taylor said. "We have to ensure that we execute whatever plans we set out."
TKR 72 all out off 17 overs (Deandra Dottin 25; Karishma Ramharack 3-12, Shreyanka Patil 2-10)
AMAZON WARRIORS 78 for one off 7.3 overs (Sophie Devine 38 not out)